Boycott Tour and Gaza solidarity evening bring message of Palestine to Toulouse

A Boycott Tour marched through central Toulouse, France, on Saturday, 17 December 2022, as several dozen members and supporters of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra (a member organization of the Samidoun Network), came together to bring the message of boycott and Palestine solidarity to the city’s busy shopping district. The goal of this action was to raise awareness of the need to boycott Israel and the corporations complicit in its colonial oppression of the Palestinian people. Participants gathered outside the Esquirol metro station with Palestinian flags and signs stating: “For Christmas, I’ll boycott Israel!” Other signs highlighted specific corporations to be boycotted, including HP, Puma, and Teva.

Outside the Darty store, marchers gathered with flags and placards, while others distributed flyers presenting the products not to buy for the winter holidays, in order to support the Palestinian people and their resistance. A spokesperson for the Collectif Palestine Vaincra spoke, pointing out that this Darty store sold products produced by companies supporting the Israeli occupation:

In this Darty store, as in many stores in Toulouse, Hewlett-Packard brand products are sold. But HP is complicit in the colonization of Palestine! HP is an American company that plays an active role in the oppression of the Palestinian people by supplying hardware to the Israeli navy and software for population control in the West Bank. So, during the holidays and throughout the year, do not buy HP computers, printers and ink cartridges! It is also important to boycott the Sodastream water aerator. A few years ago, it was produced in a settlement in the West Bank, today this brand is installed in the occupied Naqab, part of Palestine which is the target of a policy of ethnic cleansing by the Israeli authorities. So, let’s not buy from Sodastream and let’s inform our friends, family widely so as not to support this colonial enterprise. In this way, you will bring substantial support to the Palestinian people!

The participants marched down rue Saint Rome, a pedestrian street crowded with people during the holiday season. Participants received numerous messages and shows of support and distributed many stickers and leaflets to passers-by. Outside the Foot Locker and Courir stores, participants promoted the #BoycottPuma campaign, informing passers-by about the company’s role in sponsoring Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid. A speaker from the Collectif Palestine Vaincra said:

This German sports equipment supplier is the sponsor of the Israeli Football Association, of which 6 teams are located in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. While Puma prides itself on “[integrating] human rights into [its] operations”, it agrees to sponsor football teams of a racist and colonial regime that steals land, evicts, imprisons and kills Palestinians. Today, in support of Palestine: boycott Puma!

The marchers then headed towards the crowded rue Alsace Lorraine, chanting slogans in support of the Palestinian people and for the boycott of Israel. Once more, speakers explained the objectives of the Boycott Tour to passers-by, many of whom expressed joy at seeing Palestinian flags in the city center. Next, the Boycott Tour headed to the Jean Jaurès metro. Near several pharmacies, another activist from the Collectif Palestine Vaincra spoke:

Many pharmacies sell TEVA brand products. The largest Israeli pharmaceutical company, it is a powerful multinational and the largest producer of generic drugs in the world. Through its financial contribution to the State of Israel, it contributes to colonization and apartheid. At the same time, Palestinians’ access to healthcare has been extremely deteriorated by Israeli colonial and racist policies: the numerous checkpoints in the occupied West Bank, the blockade of Gaza, the successive bombardments, etc. Let’s not stand aside: we can take action and bring concrete support to the Palestinian people by boycotting Teva and all Israeli products! At your pharmacist, ask for another brand of medicine and ask us for the “boycott TEVA” sticker to put on your health and prescription card.

Finally, the march ended with a stop in front of Fnac. Marchers once again called for a boycott of HP, while emphasizing the importance of supporting the Palestinian people throughout the year as they confront the murderous policy of settler colonialism. Ending after an hour and a half of walking the streets of Toulouse, the Boycott Tour was a great success, receiving support and interest from many people.

The tour followed a solidarity evening on Thursday, 15 December, in support of Palestinians in Gaza confronting siege and colonization. Despite a breakdown of the Toulouse metro before and during the event, dozens of people participated in the “Solidarity with Gaza” evening program, organized at Toulouse’s Maison de Quartiere de Bagatelle. The event was introduced by a Collectif Palestine Vaincra activist who noted that the event aimed to build solidarity with Gaza, which has suffered under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade for over 15 years. Despite the catastrophic humanitarian effects, Gaza has been a strong center of Palestinian resistance, bravely confronting the violence of the colonial occupation, a violence made possible through Western powers’ support and complicity.

The evening included the screening of “Gaza Fights Back,” a documentary highlighting the Israeli assault of May 2021 and its effects. It highlights the reality of the assault by the Israeli army and explains how the Palestinian people are facing them by all means necessary with courage and determination, with the voices of many Palestinians in Gaza.

After the film screening, Nawras Shalhoub, Palestinian artist present in Gaza in August 2022, spoke about the current situation. He emphasized that more than 70% of the Palestinians of Gaza are refugees, deprived of their right to return home for more than 74 years. Thus, the resistance is fighting for the liberation of all of Palestine and the return of refugees and that is why it is supported by all of the Palestinian people. For example, he recalled that the Israeli occupation said it was attacking only one Palestinian party during the last deadly attack in the summer of 2022. In reality, it was the entire Gaza Strip and Palestine that was under attack. Similarly, Shalhoub highlighted the importance of the resistance that has spread everywhere, from Jenin to Nablus and throughout Palestine. He extended the evening by emphasizing that Gaza was also a place of life, joy and sharing. In this sense, he presented his work which aims to bring together artists inside and outside the Gaza Strip.

In the discussion with participants, one person recalled that Gaza was also used as a testing ground for Israeli weapons which were sold on the world market after testing them on Palestinian civilians. In this sense, an activist from Collectif Palestine Vaincra recalled the important campaign carried out by Palestine Action in Great Britain against Elbit Systems, the main manufacturer of Israeli weapons, and the importance of being in solidarity with them, in particular with four #ShutElbitDown campaign activists remanded in custody. He also denounced the complicity of France and its multinational corporations in the oppression of the Palestinian people, such as Thalès, which collaborates with Elbit Systems and has a site in the Mirail district. Several exchanges also took place on the importance of international solidarity with Gaza in order to end the siege and the importance of developing solidarity with the Palestinian people who are waging an anti-colonial liberation struggle.

The event also included a small exhibition on the reality of life in Gaza which was met with great interest from those present. In addition, this evening raised several hundred euros as part of the solidarity campaign  in support of AWDA, a leading Palestinian health organization founded in 1985 which offers medical care every year. to 300,000 people in the Gaza Strip and which administers the Al Awda hospital. Don’t hesitate to make an online donation too!

The Collectif Palestine Vaincra organizes many actions in the Toulouse area in support of Palestine. Do not hesitate to contact the Collectif  if you wish to mobilize in Toulouse and to follow us on our various social networks (Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram,  TikTok  and Telegram).